May 23, 2014 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #612860
Was there an accurate way to tell time in the Talmudic Era as it pertains to Shaos Zemanios?May 23, 2014 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #1016569
You mean a sundial?May 23, 2014 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #1016570PulsingFlowerMember
Yes. Ayin gemara rosh hashana 13a “kol midas chachomim kach hu”May 23, 2014 5:06 pm at 5:06 pm #1016571LogicianParticipant
For shaos zemanios you just need to know what percentage of the day has passed (ok, that depends on when you start alos/netz and stop shkiah/tzeis), I would think that would be relatively simple.
And its clear in the gemara that they used these zmanim, referred to events occurring at specific hours of the day etc. so…May 23, 2014 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #1016572
Although the Sugya in the beginning of Pesachim should be a Ra’aya that they didn’t have anything so precise. Or, at the very least, you were never expected to be able to have access to it.May 23, 2014 5:52 pm at 5:52 pm #1016573
I mean how did they accurately know at any given point of day what time it was with the nafka mina being shaos zmanios e.g. zman krias shema, plag hamincha etc.May 23, 2014 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1016574
I mean how did they accurately know at any given point of day what time it was with the nafka mina being shaos zmanios e.g. zman krias shema, plag hamincha etc.
Today, we tend not to take too much notice of astronomical phenomena (unless you have an interest in it). Back in the days before clocks, however, people had a much greater awareness of it. Most people were probably aware of the sun’s path across the sky and could judge just how far along it was at any particular time of the day.
If you know the path the sun is going to take, then it’s no great feat to know when it’s 1/4 of the way there (i.e. 3 hours) or at high noon (chatzos), etc.
Likewise, devices such as sundials could also provide similar information.
The WolfMay 23, 2014 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #1016575To be or not to beMember
“If you know the path the sun is going to take, then it’s no great feat to know when it’s 1/4 of the way there (i.e. 3 hours) or at high noon (chatzos), etc.” in fact I remember a mishna somewhere that said that in those days people were able to tell the time of the sun within 2 hoursMay 23, 2014 6:33 pm at 6:33 pm #1016576
If they could accurately measure time then I have a follow up question. R’ Eliezer gives simanim for the three periods of night. The Gemara asks whether the simanim are for the beginning of the periods or the end of the periods. If it’s for the beginning, we don’t need a siman for the first one because we know that it’s when the night starts. If it’s for the end then we don’t need a siman for the last one because we know that it’s when the morning starts. The Gemara answers that the simanim were for the end of the first, the beginning of the last, and the middle of the middle. If there was an accurate way to tell time, we wouldn’t need a siman for the middle of the middle because it’s exactly halfway between the beginning of the first and the end of the second.May 23, 2014 7:16 pm at 7:16 pm #1016577
Maybe they could tell time during the day (via the Sun) and not at night?May 23, 2014 7:25 pm at 7:25 pm #1016578
“Maybe they could tell time during the day (via the Sun) and not at night?”
That’s what I was forced to conclude as well for the time being.May 23, 2014 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #1016579
If there was an accurate way to tell time, we wouldn’t need a siman for the middle of the middle because it’s exactly halfway between the beginning of the first and the end of the second.
Because the sun is not visible at night. And the night (unlike the day WRT the Sun) cannot be defined by using the Moon.
The WolfMay 25, 2014 6:05 am at 6:05 am #1016580HaLeiViParticipant
And the night (unlike the day WRT the Sun) cannot be defined by using the Moon.
I guess you mean, not easily.
Sam, the Gemara in Pesachim actually suggests that it is possible tobe exact. According to one view, Rebbi Meir holds that people don’t make any mistake at all and Rebbi Yehuda allows for a half hour. But even according to the most allowing view, it is merely saying that it is possible to make the mistake, but not that it is expected.May 25, 2014 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #1016581
Well the Gemara does conclude that Moshe and Dovid knew exactly when chatzos was so apparently it was possible to “tell time” at night, unless Moshe and Dovid had some spiritual way of knowing. However, before reaching this conclusion the Gemara suggested that Moshe did not know when chatzos was but Dovid did because the wind would blow his harp at chatzos.May 25, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm #1016582
I guess you mean, not easily.
No, I meant not at all. We pretty much define the day by the sun — sunrise to sunset. The night, however, cannot be defined as moonrise to moonset.
The WolfMay 25, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm #1016583–Participant
The way to accurately tell time at night is with star charts, almanac, and astrolabe. I don’t think the general population had easy access to these items.
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